Study: Universal health care would save billions annually


A study released today says that New York would save $45 billion annually by creating a statewide universal health plan.

The study was conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Economics Department, and focuses specifically on a bill proposed by state Assembly member Richard Gottfried. Assembly members Harry Bronson and David Gantt are local co-sponsors of the bill known as the New York Health Act.  

The average cost of health care premiums for employer-provided plans in New York doubled in the last decade with employees paying over $4,200 annually, according to the study. And for a family plan in New York, the average annual deductible has also doubled since 2003 from about $700 to more than $1,400.

Where would the savings come from? The study suggests that much of it would come from the elimination of private insurance carriers and their administration costs, which are about 15 percent of premium costs. The state could also use the same large purchasing power as the Veterans Administration to greatly reduce the cost of drugs and medical devices.

The study shows there would be a net growth of 200,000 jobs in New York if the bill passed.

The plan requires a complicated funding arrangement, but also promises lower health care costs for employers and the potential for reduced state property taxes because the plan would take over the state’s Medicaid costs.

The most important factor in the health bill would be better outcomes. It may surprise people who have not experienced it, but having health insurance doesn’t automatically result in care. Many people in the US cannot afford the deductibles and other health expenses that add up when serious illness or injury occurs.

According to the study, 14,000 deaths in New York could be avoided if the bill is passed.